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I'm a senior about to graduate in May, 2011. I'm comtemplating about the MAcc program; however, I don't think forking another 15K in student loans is worth it. As in accounting courses, I'm trying to do the cost-benefit analysis on this decision. What made you guys apply for the MAcc program instead of heading out into the job market? I will have the necessary 150 hours for the CPA when I graduate.
Pros: Networking Abilities for Jobs Extra Year to study for CPA Better references from professors. Another Year of Accounting Experience (IRS, G-7 pay boost etc..) - Don't really know If I want to work for the IRS.
Cons: 15K+ in student loans Opportunity cost of salary (if I find a job) Experience of the job
Most people go for MAcc to meet the CPA requirement or to get a job. Since the accounting firms are one of the few employers out there, hiring graduates with little experience in large numbers, many graduates are headed to grad school to pursue MAcc (and other comparable programs)
If you don't need it to meet the CPA requirement and you have a job lined up, there is no reason to pursue the degree, really. _________________
Just to expand on what nink said, if you have your hours for the CPA and have a job I see very little reason to get a masters.
If you don't have a job lined up and don't expect to find one before you graduate, then the masters is probably the better option over unemployment.
I know a few big 4 offices (and I'm just assuming you're looking at big 4 firms) give slightly higher starting salaries if you have a masters (maybe $5k higher) but this depends on the firm, the office, and the practice so it's not really something you can count on unless you know where you want to work beforehand. Not to mention $5k extra doesn't do much when you consider the factors you already listed like opportunity cost and tuition cost.
Some might argue that later on down the road the masters might look nice when you're looking at getting a different job, but the extra year of work experience (assuming you start work straight out of undergrad) could be just as, if not more valuable than the masters degree. And you can always get an MBA later on if you feel that a lack of a graduate degree is holding you back as far as job opportunities.
Bottom line, as nink suggested - if you have a job and the hours to sit for the CPA, I'd skip the MAcc.